Monday, April 22, 2013

It's good to be back in the Midwest

April 22, 2013  from Warren, Ohio, USA

Heyy! I love you.
I have SO much I want to write about, but not very much time.It was so good to talk to Mom, Dad, and Garrett on Monday. I needed that. It made me so happy to hear how well Garrett is doing in Chicago. So I barely made the flight to Cleveland from Detroit, but I made it. I love the midwest so much. It was so good to not see mountains and feel the humidity. 
Then we stayed at the mission home. Oh and Elder and Sister Black, a senior couple from Mississippi are here. They said they remembered our family. That was cool. 
But the next morning, we went to Kirtland, which is part of our mission. The coolest part was in the school of the prophets. That is the place where the 1st missionaries of this dispensation were taught by the prophet and taught incredible things before going out to the field. So it was almost like the first MTC. In the same room where Joseph saw visions and Christ himself appeared. But we sat in there and the spirit was so strong. President Vallinga (mission pres) then gave us about 5 minutes to silently ponder and pray to Heavenly Father to start our missions to Him in the same place where the 1st missionaries started their missions. That was incredible. 
I later was assigned my area and companion. I was assigned to Warren, Ohio - biking. It's about 30 min from Pennsylvania. I love it here. It is a rougher, low income area. Everyone always says "be careful" when we leave their homes haha. (Don't worry mom, I'm safe). But the people here have such great faith. We get rejected a lot because so many people have so much faith in their current beliefs, but it has been awesome to see so many people with faith in Christ. I was worried about biking, because I haven't biked in forever. But I have received so much help from Heavenly Father and I haven't had any problems. I love biking. In this first week I have biked in a rainstorm, snowstorm, and 85 degree weather. Haha. It's fun.
On my 1st night here we met with April. April is amazing. She is one of the most Christ like people I have ever met. And she was so prepared by the Lord. She was raised baptist, but there were things that she just didnt't understand there, so she left the church. She studied on and read the Book of Mormon for 6 months, then she called the missionaries and said "I read the Book of Mormon, I know it's true. I need to be baptized." Wow. That does not happen everyday. She was baptized in January. And now she has been an incredible help to the missionaries here. It was amazing hearing her talk about the love she has for the gospel and for other people. She has 3 kids. But 2 of her kids live in Virginia with her ex husband. She has A LOT of rough things in her life. Like, not just a few, SO much is going wrong for her. But she is so happy. She talked to us about how she prays everyday for her ex husband and other people who have done horrible things to her. She has so much charity. She seriously amazes me. I know there are lots of reasons, but I know one reason I was sent to Ohio was to learn from her, because my perspective on life has changed just from listening to her. She's great. This week try praying for those who you may thing don't deserve it. We all could be a lot more like April. 
So we were riding back from doing yard work for someone, riding on the sidewalk of this main road. And randomly this guy with long hair comes out of his store and yells "Hey! Come here!". So we turned around and went to talk to him. He said "Hey, I just love what you guys are doing out here, come on in and talk with me a bit. I want to cook you some of my fish tacos." It was crazy. haha slightly confused I said, "umm, are you sure?" and he said "Yeah man! I love Jesus too!" haha So we went with him. His name is Smitty and he has a little take out resturaunt and he donates 100 percent of his gains to build wells for children in Africa and he's just trying to do so many things to help out the community and bring God back into people's lives. It was awesome. And his tacos were great. 
We have done a lot of tracting, and it was hard at first. I wasn't scared at all for some reason. The atonement saves me everyday. But it was hard because I feel so much love for these people. And I want SO badly for them to experience the happiness and pure joy that comes from the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. So it was hard having so many people reject it. But I am learning to trust more in the will of God and have patience, so I am grateful for that. 
We found one awesome investigator. He was the last house after we said we were going to finish two houses earlier. And I dont have time to tell you about him. 
But I am doing well. I miss you all a lot. I got a little homesick yesterday, but I forget about it when I just focus on my purpose being here. I have been relying so much this week on advice Dad has given me in the past. I am so grateful to have such amazing parents. 
I am working hard and just trying to give everything to the Lord. I promise that miracles are real. We just have to look for them. The biggest thing I'm learning is that true faith is shown when you aren't having any success, but you don't slow down. I am so grateful to be here. I love you all!
Oh and please write me letters! My address is:
2922 Dunstan Dr. NW
Warren OH 44486
Elder Tenney

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